Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Boy's favourites

I'm not sure any of these need explaining but for some reason Dear Boy has taken to anything that doesn't look like a toy this week. Because we can't just let him chew on the remote controls, he's had some mama-hack toys to keep the peace. He's completely fascinated by the egg-carton, all those bumps and grooves and strange texture. The cardboard tube is about to be turfed now he's finally gummed it down and managed to get pieces off it. Before then, he was happily bashing it on the empty formula tin, the egg carton, his head, the heater, the coffee table. Lovely Husband's hoodie strings have also been sacrificed to the cause. Dear Boy loves him some string/laces, chomping on those suckers and pointing very delicately at the plastic tips. The last are home-made rattles - bits and pieces crammed into old coke bottles, pearl barley taped into a clear teat-case and penne pasta in an old bottle. Noisy, easy to grip. Loves them.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

You've got to know when to hold 'em... and when to walk away

Dear Boy tried to pull himself up onto his feet this morning. His little hands slipped from armchair cushion he was grasping and he fell onto his bum, the momentum flinging the back of his head onto the rug... which covers a hardwood floor. There was a loud bang. There was a screaming wail. There were cuddles. There was a distraction and a tear-stained smile.

Not long after I watched him crawl across concrete for the first time, watched the frown crease his face as he tried to lift his knees off the rasping surface.

Later, I heard the squeal as he shuffled into the pointed corner of Lovely Husband's desk.

Already, I'm seeing I may come to be on a first-name basis from the Emergency Department staff.

The more skilled that boy becomes, the more things he learns to do and the more control he gains over his body, the more bumps and bruises and scratches I'm seeing bloom over the surface of his skin. He whinges with frustration and screams in long open-mouthed cries when he hurts himself.

So lately, I've been thinking a lot about about how I can protect him and how much I should try. I've been thinking about how much I should let him discover for himself and how many mistakes I should help him avoid. About  when I should cuddle him and kiss the bits he's injured and when I should encourage him to get back up and carry on. About how much of my attention is enough to satisfy and stimulate him and how much would hold him back from developmentally necessary discoveries.

I get the feeling that in all of this wondering, there isn't really a fine line. Rather there's a wide swathe of grey area where for some it's too much and for others not enough. There's a hell of a lot of territory between neglectful and smothering.

I try to be open to how he wants me to parent him. When he cries but flings away my comforting hands, I take a step back. When he turns his body towards mine and raises his arms, I pick him up. When he's interacting with other people but reaches behind him to check that I'm there, I stay. When he is intent on a toy, a shoelace, a tissue box or the remote control, I leave him be. When he swats at the spoon and sprays food across the kitchen, I try and accept that he's done.

But there are also times when I have to parent him the way he needs to be parented. When I have to distract him from putting small, pointy or poisonous things in his mouth, when I have to stop him from playing with his seat belt, when I hold him tight and restrain his arms while the doctor's examine him.

He doesn't need me all day every day but he does need me. But he also needs a range of people to interact with and an array of experiences, some solitary and some with his hand held and some with his legs and arms clinging to me like a little limpet. I just need to figure out when to let him go and take risks and when to rein him in and keep him safe from harm. 

I don't want him to be wrapped in cotton wool but I will insist on a helmet when he learns to ride a bike. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

And he's off...straight into the CDs


The sickness continues...but the exercise doesn't (12WBT)

Okay, so it appears I lied. Or at least, my powers of prediction are crap-tacular.

Sunday came and went, but the cacophony of illnesses didn't. In fact, they only got worse. Lovely Husband; Dear Boy; Me: all down for the count. Bam, bam, bam. Sinusitis, bronchitis, bronchiolitus, snotty noses, stuffy noses, wheezy chest, hacking wet cough, dry itchy cough, double-dose antibiotics, lozenges, codeine syrups, pain in the chest and then a trip to the emergency department.

*ed. Blood test results are in - an atypical pneumonia is the culprit, causing all of our woes and me to do something really, really uncomfortable to my ribs. Who knew floating ribs could be so... moveable.*

So there has been no exercise besides the occasional walk in the sunshine or a stroll around the shopping centre to find the pharmacist.

I miss it. I feel like all the hard work I did in the first few weeks is being undone. That my fitness is sapping away somehow. I'm still strict on the food side and am seeing weight-loss results but I'm disappointed that I may not make my 'proceed to the next fitness level' goal by the time the program ends in four weeks.

I think my new plan will be to add on a number of exercise weeks to the end of the program equal to the number I missed. That'll take me pretty close to Christmas, and perhaps give me a buffer for holiday treats.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear Boy (9 months)

Dear Boy,

You are nine months old (and a bit - late again!) and we're starting that slippery descent into one year. That scares me - how can you have been in those world for almost a whole year? How is it possible you've only been here nine months? Weren't you always a part of this little family, leaving little spewy patches on the carpet and spraying food on the floor? Weren't you always brightening our days with your smiles and giggles and milky lips and sleepy-lidded eyes?

You started this month with two new acquisitions - tiny little teeth, fresh and sharp as needles, that are slowly growing upward from your gums. Because of them, I think you've discovered kisses - big slobbery open-mouth kisses on our faces - except on me, you like to clamp down on my jaw and bite for all you're worth. Those two little teeth are still quite sore as they push their way out - either that or you're getting some more. Maybe two in the top to match the others?

I travelled with you back to Newcastle and we stayed for six nights by ourselves in a hotel room on the foreshore. We slept in the same room and you kept me awake with your snuffling and snoring, just like your Dad, who we left at home. You loved Skype chats with Dad-dad-dad - and chuckled and giggled from 'answer with video' to 'end call'. Lovely Husband could barely get a word in edgewise. While we were away, you got to spend lots of time with Grandad and Granma J. and, most importantly, played lots with Vinnie Van Dog. You shared kisses upon kisses, patting his head and being whipped by his tail. He loved playing with you and would whine at the kitchen gate when he heard your voice at the front door.

You also got to spend a little bit of time with your uncles and your aunts and most of your cousins. Cousin W. piled you into the back of a tonka truck and zoomed you round the house, careering so fast around the corners, I was expecting a trip to emergency and your first stitches.

You are so very close to crawling - rocking back and forth on your hands and knees, reaching out with a tentative hand or two before belly-flopping back down and going for the easy roll. You still manage to get from one side of the room to the other, under the couch, under the coffee table, through the door - but you're frustrated. You just need to get those little legs of yours to work with the arms and you'll be off like a rocket. Lovely Husband's bin won't ever be safe then. For now, keep trying - you'll get there, I promise.

Tupperware melange and coffee, anyone?
You're starting to wave and will high-five occasionally and your favourite things to do at the moment are emptying things (doesn't matter what- if it has something in it, it needs to be empty!), smashing the xylophone/piano and throw things from your high chair. You don't really have a favourite food as you're more interested in throwing than eating. You're even chucking away your toast after just a cursory bite or slobber, which shocks me after the love affair you've had with it. We've just changed you from four bottles a day to three, and you're drinking really well. You're thankfully still doing two naps a day. I'm not sure I'm ready to lose one of them, so let's leave that milestone for later... much later. Stay my baby boy for a little while longer.

Much love,

Your mum.
Hey! Who finished my coffee?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Photo-a-day (Sept)

1. You, now

2. Father

3. Far Away

4. In my mailbox

5. Bright

6. Everyday

7. Natural
8. At Night

9. Something you do most weekends

10. Black and white

11. Hero

12. Together

13. Table

14. Favourite
15. First thing you see

16. Strange

17. In my fridge

18. Price

19. Underneath

20. Man made

21. Sometimes

22. Up

23. Before bedtime

24. 3 things

25. Frame

26. Near

27. Love/hate

28. A good thing

29. Errand

30. You, then

The challenging bits (12WBT)

With going away and then having a lingering cold ramp up into a secondary infection, I've been having some trouble being 100% faithful to the 12WBT programme. The food aspect is still under control - although there was some extra snacking that accompanied all the visiting and catching up while we were away. I want it on the record that I ordered herbal tea at several cafes, though. But the exercise has fallen by the wayside.

Away from my gym, and away from home, and away from my regular routine, I did fit in a few walks (up some awesome hills) but certainly nothing hard-core for over an hour, six days a week. And this week, with the cold and the pounding head and the antibiotics and the weary body and the snuffly, chesty baby - I've not had anything left to give to the gym.

This changes on Sunday. By then, I'm hoping the drugs will be doing their thing and I can just labour on despite all the rest. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What this boy knows at 9 months

Love, laughter, peanut butter, strawberry yoghurt, the pain of cutting teeth, rolling and 360s, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the shock and betrayal of falling off the bed and no-one catching him, waving goodbye, snotty noses, the dropping stomach and startled hands of air turbulance, crisp grass under his fingers, the warmth of the sun, numb toes from dipping in freezing ocean, sand shifting under his bum, hot seatbelts and sweaty head, cruskits, multigrain toast, the inconvenient plug in a too small bath, pointing, 'no', tickles, fluffy towels, hotel sheets, gas-heating, food in his hair and the slap of a wet wash-cloth against his face, Giggle and Hoot, lullabies, comfort and kisses.

Monday, October 1, 2012

52 Poems (week 52)

Well, this is it, the very last of my 52 Poems Project... Yes, it was started more than 52 weeks ago and it has been unraveled in fits and starts, but I've read more poetry - more than the 52 poems I promised and that, well that is what matters most.

This last is not the best, nor the worst, I've read. It's not the most triumphant and sorrowful, but it has perfection from its place on this list: the end, the finishing line, No. 52.

As always, I am as slavish to international copyright sensitivities as I can be with no clear directions on what constitutes 'fair use' - so here is part of my last poem, by Elizabeth Bishop.
One Art
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster...


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